Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Meetings

Did you know it is baseball season?  It is.  Team executives and managers have been meeting in Orlando all week. They're doing deals that will determine the make up of teams for next year.  What happened for teams that matter here at LPCARDSFAN?


The Birds are stocking up on former NL Central opponents. 

They traded a relief pitcher to the Dodgers for former Cubs' SS Ryan Theriot.  Theriot was arbitration eligible this year and the Cards signed him to a one year deal.  I admit this news pissed me off early on.  I think Theriot is overrated.  The Cardinals SS last year, a Gold Glove caliber defender, struggled to stay above the Mendoza Line.  In the end, Ryan Theriot had a Runs Above Replacement rating of -1 last year.  Brendan Ryan had a RAR of +8.  That statistic tells me the Cardinals are reducing their run total by 9 runs and paying 8 times as much to do it.

Just as unexplainable is the signing of former Astro Lance Berkman.  Berkman recently had knee surger.  He's old for a baseball player and is overweight.  He's been primarily a 1B for years and the Cardinals plan on playing him regularly in LF.  Did I mention he had knee surgery?  I just don't get it.  We have an every day left field and one of the best hitting players in the game in Matt Holiday (NL Ranks: 5th in BA, 7th in RBIs, 13th in HR).  The Birds get Holiday to agree to move to right field to make room for Lance Berkman.  I know we were offensively weak in RF but was this the best option?  WTF is Mozeliak smoking?

The big news all Bird fans are waiting for breathlessly is resigning Pujols.  The Cardinals control him thorugh 2011 but we all want a contract extension done before he hits the free market.


It took two attempts but the Northsiders traded away fan favorite Derek Lee last year.  That left a huge hole in the line up and 1B.  It turns out that Xavier Nady is not the answer. Hoocoodanode?   The Cubs signed free agent Carlos Pena to a 1 YR, $10M deal.  Pena had a rough offensive year last year.  He also was below the Mendoza Line with a .196BA.  He made up for it with 28 dingers.  Clearly Pena should be a stop gap.  We'll see if Hendry realizes that.


Kenny Williams, one of the most fun interviews in baseball, is making big moves.

He nontendered closer Bobby Jenks.  Jenks' numbers have been on the decline for three years and the Sox have a power arm in Matt Thorton waiting in the wings.  Here's a move I approve of.

Things that are kept constant are the #2 and #3 positions.  Both A.J. and Paulie were resigned.  There was drama around Paulie's resigning but it's a done deal.

Adding pop to the line up the Sox signed the strike-out prone slugger Adam Dunn.  Now when your slugging percentage looks like Dunn's strikeouts become an overrated negative stat.  The real question with this signing is the length of the contract and can Dunn hit AL pitching?  I think he'll have a good year - not a great year - but a good year.

OTHER TEAMS that matter less.

The Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a ridiculously long, high dollar contract.  I'm a Werth fan.  I had hoped he would be the Cardinals new RF.  Not for that kind of money though.  Still good for the Springfield, IL, native for getting all he's worth and then some.  As for the Nats, when you are a doormat team, you have to spend big money to get impact players.  Four, five years down the line they might be griping about this contract.  However, if they get some winning years and are able to bring in / keep other good players one could point to this move as contributing to that success.

The Evil Empire resigned the defensively 32nd best SS to a 3 year deal that is rewarding him for previous services rendered. They also have resigned the best reliever to ever play the game.  Mo may still be throwing cutters and saving games when he's 50.

Boston has made Carl Crawford the highest paid outfielder in the history of baseball. They will pay him $142M over the next 7 years. Deals in general are getting longer and 7 years, if not a norm, are becoming more common. I think this is a bad, bad idea. Athletes can see their performance affected by team chemistry, they get injured, skills atrophy. Committing to deals this long is not good for the team.

As the week concludes the bidding war for Cliff Lee is getting heated. When all is said and done though, I will be (pleasantly) surprised if Lee pitches for any one other than the The Evil Empire next year.

Spring Training starts in 60 days!

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